Serge Ibaka is asking Magic fans to be patient with his slow start in Orlando, relays Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Ibaka came to the team in a June trade with the expectation that he would become the rim protector the Magic needed while providing offense like he did with the Thunder. He has shot 43% from 3-point range in his first nine games in Orlando, but has been a disappointment defensively. “There’s new teammates, there’s new coverages,” coach Frank Vogel said. “The whole system is new. That’s just a part of all of our newness. I think we’re all trying to grow and figure each other out on the defensive end. But he’s certainly given us a presence. When we’re playing against big teams, he can match up with those guys and hold his own one-on-one and be a shot-blocking presence at the rim.” Ibaka will return to Oklahoma City on Sunday for the first time since the trade.
There’s more from the Southeast Division:
- The offseason addition of Dwight Howard has helped the Hawks become of the NBA’s best shooting teams, writes Chris Vivlamore of the Journal Constitution. Howard is third in the league at .622, joining teammates Mike Muscala and Thabo Sefolosha in the top five. Overall, Atlanta is second in shooting at .478. “I think it’s just sharing the ball,” Muscala said. “A lot of it’s getting more offensive rebounds, getting some steals, pushing it in transition, getting those easy buckets. It all helps in getting in a good rhythm. It’s about not overthinking it. It’s about finding the open guy because we do have good shooters, we have good finishers.”
- Wizards point guard John Wall will be held out of back-to-back games for at least another week, tweets Candace Buckner of The Washington Post. The Wizards are bringing Wall along slowly after he had operations on both knees during the offseason. Coach Scott Brooks said he will consider changing the plan next week.
- Washington’s early-season struggles are a sign that the organization should start over, which may mean trading Wall, writes Sam Amico of Amicohoops.net. Amico suggests a total makeover, with the team rebuilding around Otto Porter. He adds that the coaching change from Randy Wittman to Brooks hasn’t had the desired effect. Amico also cites an anonymous GM who believes the Wizards should waive Markieff Morris.